Real Madrid manager lauds Benzema’s influence to the improving European Champions

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Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari applauded Karim Benzema’s selflessness and lauded him as “one of the best” strikers in the world.

After Cristiano Ronaldo’s pre-season departure, most of the goal-scoring burden at Madrid has fallen on Benzema.

Although he has only found the net seven times in 20 LaLiga games, the Frenchman is Madrid’s top goalscorer this season.Solari looks beyond the goals, however, highlighting Benzema’s desire to link up with his team-mates and the selflessness that has seen him play with a broken finger.

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“Obviously he is really good now. He is in a great moment, having a great year. I always said he is a very generous player because he is always creating spaces for his team-mates.

“He is making those around him better players, and he is very generous with his efforts. He is playing almost every game this season and he is doing so now during his recovery of the broken finger.

“When you play within the recovery, you play with pain and he is doing so. I mean, he is very generous in all the senses, and yes, I think he is one of the best No.9s in the world nowadays.”

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Another player to have attracted praise at times this season is young Brazilian Vinicius Junior, who has excited with his trickery, and Solari is impressed by his adaptation having joined from Flamengo.

“I think his adaptation so far has been very quick,” Solari said. “He is very young, he is just 18 and he had to adapt to a new country, a new language, new friends, a new neighbourhood, another culture and a new football culture.

“He did have the advice of experienced players, players who have played many games, and they have been very supportive with him, hosting Vinicius very warmly, therefore he can show his talent in every game. We have to keep taking care of him and hopefully his growth will be constant.”

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